By Robin Simmons



Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast in this continuation of the full-throttle franchise that found its stride in FAST FIVE and goes for even greater stakes in this adrenalin fuelled, visceral action adventure. Since the $100 million Rio heist, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But lying low as exiles is so unsatisfying that when Hobbs (Johnson) discovers a team of mercenary drivers in 12 countries, he has no trouble assembling his road gang, especially when he gets a promise of a full pardon. And then Dom (Diesel) realizes Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is not dead but is second-in-command to the mercenary drivers! Incredible high-speed road action and racing stunts take everything to the next level. Newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano join co-stars Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Elsa Pataky. Director Justin Lin does his thing behind the camera in this increasingly exhilarating franchise for the fourth time. No doubt there was CGI assist in some of the action, but most of what’s roaring up there on the big screen is really happening and that makes it all the more exciting. In movies like this, plot is actually almost irrelevant, but F&F6 has a tight story and sharp wit. And the stakes are bigger than ever. What more could you ask for? Big recommendation.



Hangover_III b

The “Wolfpack” is back in this painfully unfunny action film that has no wedding or wit. I tuned out after the bloody beheading of a giraffe in the opening scenes. There’s a lot of anger on screen — and surely from any audience hoodwinked into forking over money and time to see it. But don’t take my word. Variety said this film marks the franchise’s descent into “pitiable pointlessness.” And that it was “bereft of laughs.” Stay as far away as possible.




If this gargantuan 1963 epic were to be made today, the estimated production cost would approach an astounding $350 million. The movie is best remembered for all its heavy pop culture baggage that entered on the heat of the first big modern tabloid affair — the already married Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton — and the birth of that modern breed of parasites known as paparazzi. To say nothing of the near demise of 20th Century Fox. With the passage of fifty years (!), maybe it’s time to look at the movie for what it is; namely, the story of a woman whose lust for power and love threatens the fate of the world’s greatest empires. Grand in scope and scale, the four-hour plus film has been restored and the results are stunning. Burton’s Mark Anthony and Taylor’s Egyptian queen convey a sense of the chemistry that may have played a part of the attraction of their historical counterparts. Their off-screen attraction is impossible to dismiss when watching the film unwind. Rex Harrison retains a kind of Shakespearian distance as Julius Caesar. The actual story is a tragedy. Cleopatra’s plan is to seduce Caesar so she can have a Roman ally and retain her kingdom. But it’s thwarted when he is fatally stabbed in the senate. When mighty Roman general Mark Anthony comes along, she seduces him in the hope he will protect her and her kingdom. But the seduction of Anthony reduces him to a sniveling, petty drunk. At the Battle of Actium, Anthony is defeated. Cleopatra withdraws her troops. With Egypt in peril and enemy forces closing in, the doomed lovers have a final farewell. Generous extras make this epic worth reconsidering for the digital library. 20th Century Fox. Blu-ray.



To audiences familiar with the RING movies, this 3D entry will be somewhat disappointing. Yes, there are some nice moments in the mostly unsuccessful attempt to update the terror (it’s no longer VHS based). What is lacking here is the wonderful sense of impending menace and the delicious feeling of an enveloping atmosphere of horror and death the original series conveyed so well. WELL GO USA Entertainment. Blu-ray



This reboot of a Grimm Fairy Tale was not embraced at the box office. The bloody and sometimes goofy retelling has two fine leads in Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as self-proclaimed vigilantes, bounty hunters, hell-bent on revenge against witches for the childhood trauma the two suffered when they were held in captivity. Soon, H&G find themselves hunted by an overwhelmingly and powerful evil entity that is nothing like the witches who captured them when they were children. I liked the action and the look of this fever dream that is not a parody or satire. It works for me and the 10 added minutes of the Unrated Cut only add to the blood and the action. Director Tommy Wirkola has a good eye for composition and stylized action. Not for everyone, but for fans of unexpurgated Grimm stories, this one is bloody fun. Interesting extras. Paramount. Blu-ray.

Write me.